VAR's third penalty call of the World Cup saw Sweden defeat South Korea 1-0 on a hot day in Nizhny Novgorod. In an entertaining affair, the European side was able to overcome its opponent, mainly thanks to its familiar resilient defensive unit as Shin Tae-yong's side found little room to create many opportunities.
In the first few moments of the match, South Korea looked more threatening, attacking the right-hand side thanks to their wide players, most specifically Hee-Chan Hwang, who forced the first corner of the match. In the end, Sweden's bigger defensive unit dealt with it. It was clear that the Asian squad looked the most dangerous.
In the 11th minute, Kim Shin-wook received a yellow for an awful challenge, a classic forward's tackle. That forced to disrupt the rhythm of South Korean play, and allowing Sweden to slowly get back in the game. After 20 minutes, Marcus Berg missed a golden opportunity to make it 1-0 when he was one-on-one with Cho Hyun-woo, but the stopper made a fantastic stop.
This play, however, prompted Sweden to keep pushing and as we reached the half-hour mark, Janne Andersson's side looked the most dangerous. The first half ended with South Korea holding on as the European side were clearly dominating.
As the second half kicked-off, Sweden stayed in charge but a quick counter-attacking header nearly saw South Korea take the lead, but the attempt went just wide.
Equally on the other side, Sweden had a great chance to go ahead, but South Korea's stopper was up to the task once again.
After the hour mark, VAR came into action once again in the tournament as Sweden was awarded a penalty after a challenge in the box. The play initially went uncalled by referee Joel Aguilar, but as Sweden player protested, VAR alerted the referee, and he went to the monitor before signalling for the PK.
The goal prompted South Korea to aggresively search for an equalizer but it ran out of creative options as the Swedes stood firm, holding their lead. A huge chance for South Korea in stoppage time saw Hwang Hee-chan's header go just wide, and in the end, Sweden won a crucial match, thus leapfrogging Germany and joining Mexico for the top spot in Group F.
Here were the lineups for both teams:
Here are the rosters for both sides:
Goalkeepers: Karl-Johan Johnsson (Guingamp), Kristoffer Nordfeldt (Swansea), Robin Olsen (FC Copenhagen)
Defenders: Ludwig Augustinsson (Werder Bremen), Andreas Granqvist (Krasnodar), Filip Helander (Bologna), Pontus Jansson (Leeds), Emil Krafth (Bologna), Mikael Lustig (Celtic), Victor Lindelof (Manchester United), Martin Olsson (Swansea)
Midfielders: Viktor Claesson (Krasnodar), Jimmy Durmaz (Toulouse), Albin Ekdal (Hamburger SV), Emil Forsberg (Leipzig), Oscar Hiljemark (Genoa), Sebastian Larsson (Hull City), Marcus Rohden (FC Crotone), Gustav Svensson (Seattle Sounders)
Forwards: Marcus Berg (Al Ain), John Guidetti (Alaves), Isaac Kiese Thelin (Waasland-Beveren), Ola Toivonen (Toulouse)
Manager: Janne Andersson
Goalkeepers: Kim Seung-gyu (Vissel Kobe), Kim Jin-hyeon (Cerezo Osaka), Cho Hyun-woo (Daegu FC)
Defenders: Kim Young-gwon (Guangzhou Evergrande), Jang Hyun-soo (FC Tokyo), Jung Seung-hyun (Sagan Tosu), Yun Yong-sun (Seongnam FC), Oh Ban-suk (Jeju United), Kim Min-woo (Sangju Sangmu), Park Joo-ho (Ulsan Hyundai), Hong Chul (Sangju Sangmu), Go Yo-han (FC Seoul), Lee Yong (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors)
Midfielders: Ki Sung-yueng (Swansea City), Jung Woo-young (Vissel Kobe), Ju Se-jong (Asan Mugunghwa FC), Koo Ja-cheol (FC Augsburg), Lee Jae-sung (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors), Lee Seung-woo (Hellas Verona), Moon Seon-min (Incheon United)
Forwards: Kim Shin-wook (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors), Son Heung-min (Tottenham), Hwang Hee-chan (FC Red Bull Salzburg)
Manager: Shin Tae-yong